To cap the series, here’s a wrap up of the most salient bits and pieces to The Savvy Thinker’s Guide: Laptops, Netbooks and Desktops.
Everything depends on the user. The computer is just a tool, the user decides what to do with it. Get what makes your life easier, but don’t let the decision-making process take it over. If you can’t narrow your must-have specs, try making a list of nice-to-haves, real-sweet-but-I-can-wait, and could-be betters. Work your way up from there.
Surface thinking about computers is about your fantasies. You fall in lust with the implicit power of the image, you pay a premium for that power, but will you use it to the best of its capacity? To get a computer that will serve you best you need to know what you need, and where you’ll use it, as well as how much you’re prepared to pay for it. (And how long you plan to hang onto it.)
New models and incremental performance improvements come down the manufacturing pipeline at a near predictable rate, if you listen to the manufactures and tech sites. A unit that reliably serves your purposes for the length of its expected lifespan is the key, anything beyond that is a bonus– and good maintenance skills.
All things being equal, there’s a difference in what you can afford to pay and what you’re willing to pay — (sunk) cost versus value, remember? Keep that in mind when making the most out of your purchase.
Focus on the specifics, not the specifications. Where are the areas you want improvements or that had been giving you issues?
- More screen space = bigger screen.
- Less space-hogging/ smaller footprint = maybe slim PCs or nettops.
- More storage, less noise.
- Better performance.
- Great investment = gives good value for money.
- Reliability and long battery life.
- More portability.
You’re out for something that that will integrate itself into your life and lifestyle, and help improve it, or at the very least help it run smoothly. It’s not actually just improvements as it is a streamlined integration between your current need, your foreseeable needs, and what’s available.
What do you bring to the table?
- Prior experience and a willingness to learn and adjust – an inquiring DIY-spirit helps, as well as Youtube know-how and searching computing forums that offer videos on how to upgrade RAM and HDs, and replace components, etc.
- A priority list of your most wanted/needed features.
- Money – which can bring with it a few issues of its own.
Remember what we said in the first part? All things being equal, there’s a difference in what you can afford to pay and what you’re willing to pay.
The difference here is cost versus value. What you’ll pay is cost, what you’re aiming for is value. The goal here, like trying to get the best angle at the pool table, is hitting the sweet spot.
It’s hard if you cling to singulars ideas of both and refuse to allow some leeway … you can end up feeling like you got a real steal, only to feel shortchanged when the unit you just bought doesn’t give you the performance you really wanted.
While computers are an investment, some investments gain more over time, some don’t. Computers fall into the latter category. You give time in researching to get the best value, and money to obtain that which will give you the best value. If the computer you pick performs reliably with the demands you make of it, that’s the heart of the deal. You want one that gives you the performance you want, you have to prepare the money for that level of performance.
And just like many investments, for computers (whatever the form) there’s still an applicable life-span when it comes to parts and performance. You hardly see the tiny 7-inch Asus anymore, those are probably hidden in drawers or given away by now. Older laptop and desktop models are usually refurbished or cannibalized for parts, or scrapped. Laptops get sent back for refurbishing…When manufacturers keep pushing the boundaries for better performance, extended battery life, and lighter models, it’s a personal choice to be on the cutting edge (bleeding money if you can’t justify the expense) or in the mainstream. How long do you see yourself maximizing the benefits of your intended purchase? Think about it.
We hope that the this 4-part series has been of help in your shopping process. What follows are some of the resources and tips that turned up in the research for the series. Enjoy!
Tips and Links:
- Netbookboards.com are a news site run by tech-lovers,and covers nettops and all-in-one-PC’s too.
- Liliputing.com is a news and information web site covering netbooks.
- For those with a leaning towards ASUS netbooks, try Eeeuser.com.
- On advice on how to use them as e-readers, go here and here.
- A Lifehacker poll on best netbooks and YouTube Lite (beta) for netbooks, explained here and found here.
- Lifehacker tips on making the most of your netbook.
- A Lifehacker poll on the best netbook OS.
- A little trick with your screen and WinXP rotation, in case you weren’t aware of it.
- Laptoplogic.com and Laptopmag.com provide in-depth reviews on laptops and their accessories, as well as recommendations, guides and deals.
Review sites, news and shopping advice:
- Trustedreviews.com and Computershopper.com for all sorts of electronics.
- Notebookreview.com and Desktopreview.com covers laptops, desktops, tablet PCs and netbooks, as well as cameras, cellphones and printers.
- An interesting review on best and worst laptop brands.
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